Republicans say they must regain state Legislature |

Republicans say they must regain state Legislature

Steve Ranson
Stuart Richardson, chairman of the Churchill County Republicans, speaks with Assemblywoman Robin Titus, wo was the evening's keynote speaker.

This year’s main speaker at the Churchill County Republicans’ Lincoln Day dinner said the key for the GOP to regain both the state Assembly and Senate for the next term is for citizens to cast votes for down-ballot candidates.

The state Republican party, which breezed into power in 2014 by easily taking the two chambers, was turned out in 2016, thus relegated to minority party rule.

Assemblywoman Robin Titus, who represents most of Lyon and all of Churchill counties in District 38, didn’t mince words when addressing the 2016 general elections. Titus, now serving her second term, said Republicans must shoulder some of the blame.

“What happened last election … we got slaughtered,” she said. “We’re now a minority facing a most liberal agenda. We have been a minority in the past. Sen. (James) Settelmeyer said the best we can do is take the steak knife and how they (Democrats) will grind it into us, or we can turn it into a butter knife.”

She said the Assembly agenda looks terrible, but all is not lost.

“It’s not the Democrats’ fault,” she pointed out. “They came out and got it done.”

Titus feels confident the GOP can regain its lost footing and become the majority party in the Legislature in two years. She also said Nevada has 100,000 more registered Democrat voters in the state than Republicans, and Independents number 200,000.

“We should have never let happened the down-ballot voting,” she said, adding that once voters selected the top candidates on the ballot, they didn’t elect the other officials.

State election results show differences in the number of votes cast for the top offices compared to other offices such as school board, Assembly, etc. For example, Titus, a longtime physician in Lyon County, said Assembly control was decided by fewer than 1,500 votes.

“We currently have 15 Republicans in the Assembly, and we should have had 19,” she added.

Titus said all six state constitutional officers are up for election, and Republicans must get out the votes to keep the positions in the GOP family.

Although he hasn’t officially announced his candidacy for governor, Attorney General Adam Laxalt has stirred the Republican base with talk about the governorship. Gov. Brian Sandoval, now in his second term, is barred from running for a third term in 2018. Titus, nevertheless, said she would support Laxalt.

Sen. Dean Heller will also be seeking re-election, and Titus said the state’s senior senator is Nevada’s best voice in Washington D.C. and the electorate needs to support him. Titus said if voters are passionate about Nevada, they must be passionate about every GOP candidate.

Titus also stressed she is a representative for all 52,000 people in her district and encourages her constituents to visit her in Carson City during the session and sit with her on the floor. On opening day of the session, she had Young Democrats sit with her.

“Come and join me there and see the process,” she said.

Heller, who was greeted by a handful of protesters upset with the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, said Congress has been busy since both the House and Senate reconvened in early January,

“It’s a great time to be a Republican,” said Heller in addressing attendees. “This week alone (last week) we confirmed an education secretary, attorney general and health secretary. As Republicans, we need to stick together.”

Heller said he welcomed last week to his office Neil McGill Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver. Heller said he was also pleased to meet with a man of his caliber who could be the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“What a wonderful man,” Heller said. “Two things he noticed. I had an elk’s head hanging in there (office) and I was wearing cowboy boots … and that was a warm welcome.”

In addition to Gorush, Heller said the quality of nominees has been incredible. In addition, Heller said the Senate must approve 1,200-1,400 other people nominated for lesser positions.

Heller said congressional Republicans have begun to look at replacing Obamacare with a program of their own and also to repeal the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that that was passed during the height of the banking crisis in 2010. The bill provided more federal oversight and regulations to the banking industry. Heller said the Dodd-Frank bill caused about 50 percent of the smaller community banks to shutter because of overregulation.

Settelmeyer has represented Churchill County for two terms in the state Senate. He discussed several bills including one changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. As with Titus, Settelmeyer said he is not thrilled the Democrats are in charge.

“We’re back in the minority, and I am not happy with it,” he said